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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old January 7th, 2018, 16:51   #1
bigred177
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Default Intermittent noise/vibration while under power/decel, seems like CV, but not?

97 Jetta, 245k miles.

Took the car to have all four wheel bearings replaced, control arms rebuilt, new ball joints, new tie rods, and new shocks front and rear. I don't know the age of the axles or clutch, but the clutch is on its way out.

After finishing the work with no apparent problems I took the car for an alignment and then to Discount Tire for a balance and rotation.

After the rotation, the car was making a metal on metal sounding noise. In the past after a rotation sometimes one of my parking brake cables would come out of its hanger and rub on the rim, making a "click" noise as it bumped the wheel weights on the inside. That's what this sounded like, but wasn't the case this time.

It did it briefly then went away. I drove the car about 4k miles and it seemed okay. Then it started making the noise again faintly, growing louder over the course of about 500 miles to the point that it sounded like the car was going to come apart. It happens driving straight or in a turn, no difference. It would also have an intermittent vibration associated with it that was only present under power, like something is out of balance but it won't do it while coasting. The vibrations will get pretty violent before calming down and going away for a while.

The noise and vibrations will go away for some time and then come back. It sounds like it's coming from the center of the car. I thought it was an inner CV, but the mechanic said they look good. He also "drove" the car on the lift and couldn't get it to make the noise.

Over time the noise will go from faint, to making the noise under accel, to making the noise on accel and decel, then making he noise even while in neutral coasting. Then it'll stop for 100 miles.

I'm at a loss.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 17:39   #2
Steve Addy
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I'd be checking the wheel bearing on every corner regardless of whether they're recently replaced or not.

I'd also be talking to the tire shop to make sure that the tires don't show any irregularities during the balancing...sometimes shops won't tell you.

Also, are you running any aftermarket wheels that have a different fitment then factory?

Steve
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Old January 7th, 2018, 18:02   #3
bigred177
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While up on the lift we checked the wheel play to see if it was a bearing.

I will take it back and see what they say but I can't see this being wheel related since it's so hit or miss. When it's not acting up the car feels amazing.

They are aftermarket wheels but they have been on the car since I've owned it for about 60k miles. They have hub adapters(?) plastic rings to make the wheels sit center. They're all present.
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Old January 7th, 2018, 19:04   #4
Mongler98
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if its not humming all the time when going around the right or left corner, its not the bearing. Besides even fairly noisy bearings cant be felt with the tire on when on the lift. you can feel it a little bit when the wheel and rotor are off and feeling the hub directly.
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Old January 8th, 2018, 13:42   #5
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I replaced my control arms on my '98 with some cheapos (Prime Choice)...seemed OK in every way, but they had a slightly thicker/taller flange that makes contact with my sway bar on one side or the other....it can sound like what you are describing. Try sliding a pocket knife between your sway bars and your control arms on both sides. Sometimes I get a rattle/squeak from the contact....other times I hear a growl under medium acceleration.
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Old January 8th, 2018, 16:49   #6
bigred177
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I will check, but I'm 99% certain this is related to something rotating in the driveline. I can't adequately describe all of the things it's doing. Anyone in Houston want to go for a drive?

What kinds of issues does the differential have in these transmissions? The noise and vibrations sound like they're coming from the centerline of the car. There is fluid in it and the gears shift fine. It's just such a strange feeling.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 00:48   #7
Abacus
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Check your motor/tranny mounts. I've had the engine shift and create contacts and then return to normal at random times. The A3 had a factory hydraulic tranny mount that would fail in time. I have quite a few pictures of them failing but still looking ok from the top.

An easy check is to put the car in reverse, with the hood open and one foot on the brake (or parking brake on), and lightly load the engine by letting out the clutch. If the mounts are shot, the engine will lift from the rear. I had one car on which the owner said it'd make a huge bang sound in reverse if he wasn't easy and he thought the tranny was bad. It was the entire engine rotating forward and slamming into the fan assembly due to both rear mounts being torn apart. And yes, the exhaust flex pipe needed replacing as well due to the damage.
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Old January 9th, 2018, 01:39   #8
iluvmydiesels
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might i point out; the problem seems to have started when you took your car to a cheapie tire place, for a balance and rotation. somewhere right there a problem seems to have happened. for one balance, could be weight(s) in few miles have fallen off. another-2, you have off-center aftermarket rims, and plastic hub rings. rims may not have been put back on right. plastic may have been cracked or put on wrong and have serious problems there. causing rims to ?rub? and/or ruined plastic rings, causing that and vibration.
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Old January 13th, 2018, 11:08   #9
Steve Addy
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I would ask the tire shop if there were any odd wear patterns on the tires. I've had tires balance out before but when I went for a ride they made a rumbling noise on the pavement because they had weird wear pattern across the tread surface.

The shop never said a thing because they didn't probably check for that, and it wasn't their job to do so. They were hired to balance and that they did.

Changed tires and problem solved.

I would also ask the shop if they made sure to reinstall the hub rings with the wheels like iluvmydiesel suggested.

I'm not criticizing Discount Tire, I think they do a fine job, probably better than some places and any more the tire mounting/balancing technology really takes care of any employee idiocy. The one benefit is that all they do is sell / mount / balance tires so they do have a degree of specialization.

Another question is whether you have directional tires and whether the shop mounted them back on the car correctly?

Steve
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Old January 14th, 2018, 18:25   #10
ToddA1
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The intermittent part has me wondering, but try applying more torque to the outer CV nuts.

-Todd
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Old January 14th, 2018, 20:16   #11
iluvmydiesels
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at one time, yrs ago, i had a shop put in axles, after some years of running around, seems inners had loosened some, thats what you get for book tightening values, hence now i get inners to about 42ftlbs or so. nice and snug. mine made quite an obvious noise mainly during acceleration. inners/outters easy to check and if problem to correct. i like to hit outters w/a good impact, if they do need tightening finish with a bar & pipe.
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Old January 22nd, 2018, 21:31   #12
bigred177
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Sorry for the super long delay. Thought we had it worked out,
but then not, and I took a break for a bit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abacus View Post
Check your motor/tranny mounts. I've had the engine shift and create contacts and then return to normal at random times. The A3 had a factory hydraulic tranny mount that would fail in time. I have quite a few pictures of them failing but still looking ok from the top.

An easy check is to put the car in reverse, with the hood open and one foot on the brake (or parking brake on), and lightly load the engine by letting out the clutch. If the mounts are shot, the engine will lift from the rear. I had one car on which the owner said it'd make a huge bang sound in reverse if he wasn't easy and he thought the tranny was bad. It was the entire engine rotating forward and slamming into the fan assembly due to both rear mounts being torn apart. And yes, the exhaust flex pipe needed replacing as well due to the damage.
I knew I needed to do this anyway so this was my most recent fix. So far the car hasn't made the noises but I haven't driven it much since then. Driving to Houston tomorrow will be the test that usually makes it act up. Man, there is a noticeable difference in vibrations at idle between new and very old mounts. The previous owner had put the Passat solid mount in evidently, went back to the hydraulic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmydiesels View Post
might i point out; the problem seems to have started when you took your car to a cheapie tire place, for a balance and rotation. somewhere right there a problem seems to have happened. for one balance, could be weight(s) in few miles have fallen off. another-2, you have off-center aftermarket rims, and plastic hub rings. rims may not have been put back on right. plastic may have been cracked or put on wrong and have serious problems there. causing rims to ?rub? and/or ruined plastic rings, causing that and vibration.
I have experienced all of these before because of these wheels on this car. So now I watch them like a hawk when they do my tires and I also let them know about the spacer rings. I know all of the things you describe well, and what the car is doing now isn't any of them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Addy View Post
I would ask the tire shop if there were any odd wear patterns on the tires. I've had tires balance out before but when I went for a ride they made a rumbling noise on the pavement because they had weird wear pattern across the tread surface.

The shop never said a thing because they didn't probably check for that, and it wasn't their job to do so. They were hired to balance and that they did.

Changed tires and problem solved.

I would also ask the shop if they made sure to reinstall the hub rings with the wheels like iluvmydiesel suggested.

I'm not criticizing Discount Tire, I think they do a fine job, probably better than some places and any more the tire mounting/balancing technology really takes care of any employee idiocy. The one benefit is that all they do is sell / mount / balance tires so they do have a degree of specialization.

Another question is whether you have directional tires and whether the shop mounted them back on the car correctly?

Steve
Same as above. No strange wear on the tires and not directional.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToddA1 View Post
The intermittent part has me wondering, but try applying more torque to the outer CV nuts.

-Todd
That was the initial suspicion about 3 weeks ago. Loosened them and them hammered them back down. They are not loose now. Car was fine for about 120 of 180 miles from Austin to Houston and then it started making the noises again. Then, when driving locally, it wouldn't. On the way back from Houston to Austin it started about 80 miles into the trip. The vibrations got so bad I wasn't even able to maintain speed for a while. Almost like a death wobble on a Dodge. Anytime I added power to maintain 60 it would shake terribly. Then it stopped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by iluvmydiesels View Post
at one time, yrs ago, i had a shop put in axles, after some years of running around, seems inners had loosened some, thats what you get for book tightening values, hence now i get inners to about 42ftlbs or so. nice and snug. mine made quite an obvious noise mainly during acceleration. inners/outters easy to check and if problem to correct. i like to hit outters w/a good impact, if they do need tightening finish with a bar & pipe.
That's the next thing I'm going to mess with if the motor mounts didn't get it. I grabbed the axles with both hands and shook with all of my 250lbs and they didn't make a peep.


Before removing the mounts I put the car on stands and ran it in gear. With no load on the drive line nothing happens, but when I started adding load by stepping on the brake and applying a little power the engine started bouncing quite a lot. Never made the noises but the bounce felt the same. I watched from the outside while another driver did the same thing and the passenger rear motor mount looked like it was providing no resistance to the movements.


Fingers crossed, we'll find out tomorrow.
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Old January 22nd, 2018, 21:33   #13
bigred177
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Anyone have a good source for those plastic clips that hold the hood insulation up? My last two let go today and it fell down. Car seems louder now and I wanted to stick it back in.
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Old January 23rd, 2018, 05:25   #14
iluvmydiesels
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i used some large zip-ties.
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Old January 23rd, 2018, 21:08   #15
bigred177
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Well that didn't do it. The motor mount controlled the vibrations a little more but it's still often and violent.

Someone I talked to threw out ball joints as a thought. I can't really think of a reason why they would cause a problem but they were one of the things replaced right before this started happening. Maybe?
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